Biden Student Loan 'Relief' on the Ropes After One-Two Punch From Congress

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
June 1, 2023

In a one-two punch of legislation, Congress moved to strike down President Joe Biden's massive student loan forgiveness initiatives.

Under House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R., Calif.) debt ceiling and spending limit agreement, which passed the chamber 314-117 on Wednesday, the Biden administration cannot extend a pandemic-era pause on student loan payment for a ninth time. Borrowers must begin payments 60 days after June 30, 2023, according to the bill. Also on Wednesday, moderate Senate Democrats joined Republicans to advance legislation that would revoke Biden's massive student debt cancellation program and nullify the pause on monthly payments.

The back-to-back legislation spells trouble for Biden's campaign promise to cancel student loans. Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Jon Tester (Mont.), as well as independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), voted against Biden's program, passing the measure on a 51-46 vote.

Released last August, Biden's student loan forgiveness plan, which would cancel up to $20,000 of debt per borrower, is projected to cost $400 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The plan is on hold as the Supreme Court reviews the program, which two lower courts blocked last year. The Court is expected to issue a decision this summer.

The Senate could pass the measure to repeal the spending package with a simple majority vote as early as Thursday, but the White House has already promised Biden would veto the bill.